Which Tennessee Titans rookie should shine against the Commanders

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee Titans are the better team than the Washington Commanders, but injuries across the board will once again force this team to find new ways to win games.

With Treylon Burks now on I.R., the Commanders would be wise to shade coverage towards Robert Woods who has emerged as both a reliable target and an explosive weapon.

On the ground, the Titans will be without Nate Davis which means that Ben Jones is now the only player on this offensive line that started last year. Maybe it won’t be catastrophic for Derrick Henry’s rushing success, but it certainly won’t help.

With those key players gone and with more injuries on the defensive side of the ball, this team is going to have to find some answers if they expect to win on the road today.

When you look at where the Commanders have struggled this season, there is one position that seems to have hurt them more than anything else.

Tennessee Titans need to attack with their slot receiver

So far the Washington Commanders have played against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys. Here is what each offense’s leading slot receiver did to the Commanders’ defense.

Christian Kirk: 6 receptions, 117 yards

Amon-Ra St. Brown: 9 receptions, 116 yards

A.J. Brown: 5 receptions, 85 yards

CeeDee Lamb: 6 receptions, 97 yards

That is a whopping 26 receptions for 415 yards allowed to the primary slot receiver, which means the average statline for a slot receiver against Washington is 6.5 receptions for 104 yards.

You might be thinking, “But Will, those guys are all talented receivers. That must be what they do every week, right?” Nope.

Through four games, that is the best number of the season for Kirk, St. Brown, and Lamb and it was Brown’s second-best game.

Everything about that sets up a perfect redemption arc for one of the Tennessee Titans’ most dynamic rookies, Kyle Philips.

Does that mean that Philips is going to put up his first 100-yard game? No…well, maybe. He did have 66 yards in the first game of the season so if he ends up having a career day, 67-yards would be the minimum.

For a team that doesn’t pass the ball, having someone as dynamic as Philips helps because he can make the most of his opportunities. Since there is no world where Derrick Henry doesn’t see at least 20 rushes and 5+ targets, having someone who can take advantage of guessing linebackers will be the key to this offense today.

The only question left is whether or not this coaching staff realizes how important this matchup is and whether they are prepared to trust a rookie to be a key player.